Suggestions – Unraveling the Layers of Political Prose


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for System of a Down's Suggestions at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. The Watcher on High – Power and Perspective
  5. An Offer You Can’t Refuse – The Cost of Truth
  6. Lost at Sea – The Specter of Blind Obedience
  7. The Harsh Fog of Inquiry – Challenging the Status Quo
  8. The Apocalyptic Crescendo – Revelations and Consequences

Lyrics

Watching from a post up high
From where you see the ships afar
From a well-trained eye
The waves all keep on crashing by
If you are the light post
Then you own the working class
But if you want the answers
You better give a piece of ass
Give a piece of your ass

Warning, post hypnotic suggestions
Running the ships ashore
The orange light that follows
Will soon proclaim itself a god
If you point your questions
The fog will surely chew you up
But if you want the answers
You better get ready for the fire
Get ready for the fire

The ships are multiplying day after day, sir
And they’re coming close to the shore, sir, shore, sir
We need to evacuate the light post
It’s all over, over
It’s all over, over

Full Lyrics

System of a Down has consistently blurred the lines between music and activism, wrapping pungent social commentaries within the barbed wire of their intense musical composition. ‘Suggestions,’ a track from their self-titled 1998 debut, serves as a microcosm of the band’s ability to turn a sonic assault into a battleground of ideas.

Through the chaotic opera that defines much of System of a Down’s artistry, ‘Suggestions’ emerges as a thought-provoking social critique. The song weaves between melodic poignancy and frenetic screams, a juxtaposition that embodies the fierce internal and external conflicts it addresses.

The Watcher on High – Power and Perspective

The song’s opening verse introduces a figure ‘watching from a post up high,’ evoking an image of surveillance and authoritative oversight. System of a Down frequently tackles themes of power dynamics, and here they juxtapose the bird’s-eye view of authority with the intimate struggles of those ‘waves,’ or masses, that ‘keep on crashing by.’

This optical vantage point is not just literal; it’s symptomatic of a broader discussion on class stratification and the inherent disconnection between ruler and ruled. The implication that ‘owning the working class’ is as much about control as it is about responsibility is a stinging indictment of socioeconomic disparities.

An Offer You Can’t Refuse – The Cost of Truth

‘If you want the answers, you better give a piece of ass’ – is as sardonically blunt as it is profound. The coarse proposal hints at societal demands for subservience and the commodification of individuals as currency within a system of exchange that prefers exploitation over enlightenment.

The line serves as a metaphor for the degradation one must endure to pierce the veil of propaganda, suggesting that seeking truth is in itself a subversive act, one that may require dehumanizing compromises or risks.

Lost at Sea – The Specter of Blind Obedience

With ‘Warning, post hypnotic suggestions, running the ships ashore,’ ‘Suggestions’ delves into the manipulation of the collective consciousness. These ‘ships’ could represent individual minds or entire societies, drawn inexorably towards destruction by the ‘orange light’ of deceit that ‘will soon proclaim itself a god.’

The vivid imagery of this verse paints a terrifying portrait of mass indoctrination, a phenomenon all too familiar in a history rife with demagogues and false prophets who lead their followers not to salvation, but to ruin.

The Harsh Fog of Inquiry – Challenging the Status Quo

System of a Down’s mention of ‘The fog that will surely chew you up’ if you point your questions is a stark warning about the perils faced when challenging authority. It reflects the band’s understanding that asking the right questions is often more dangerous than enduring oppressive silence.

The band suggests that the act of questioning is enough to provoke a backlash that is both suffocating and destructive – a ‘fog’ that represents the obfuscation and dangers one faces when seeking clarity and truth in a confusing and often hostile world.

The Apocalyptic Crescendo – Revelations and Consequences

As ‘Suggestions’ reaches its climactic agitation, the repetition of ‘It’s all over’ resonates as both a warning and a prediction. The evacuation of ‘the light post’ signifies the abandonment of watchfulness and the surrender to the impending calamity that continual ignorance and complacency invite.

Here, System of a Down is no longer merely suggesting but declaring the outcome of societal neglect. The multiplying ships, now close to the shore, symbolize an impending crisis – perhaps of conscience, perhaps of calamity – leaving the listener to contemplate the inevitable fallout of remaining passive in the face of looming threats.

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